Dr. Jan Schnitzler


Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter


Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator des BIOHEALTH Projekts


Zimmer 229

Tel.: +49 (0)341 9738582

Email: jan.schnitzler-[at]-uni-leipzig.de


My research focuses on macroevolutionary dynamics with a particular emphasis on plant phylogenetics and trait evolution, the dynamics of speciation and extinction, and the integration of neontological and paleontological data and methods.

The degree to which species's functional traits and/or ecological preferences are phylogenetically conserved is still debated. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide the opportunity to assess the mode and tempo of trait evolution, providing insights into the presence of evolutionary constraints or trends, as well as the tempo of adaptation.

The estimation of speciation and extinction rates is an essential part of macroevolutionary studies and is key to understanding the processes that generate and maintain species diversity in time and space. I have co-developed novel Bayesian approaches to estimate diversification dynamics from dated molecular phylogenies and fossil occurrences, utilizing both R and Python programming languages.

With the advancement of molecular phylogenetic research, substantial developments in understanding evolutionary dynamics from molecular data of extant organisms have been made. However, these approaches are limited by focusing only on extant taxa, ignoring the rich source of information in the fossil record. We have developed a framework to serve as a conceptual structure for analyses integrating neontological and paleontological perspectives, highlighting the opportunities that arise from integrated approaches.

Selected publications

Google Scholar profile

Holzmeyer, L.*, Hartig, A.-K.*, Franke, K., Brandt, W., Muellner-Riehl, A.N., Wessjohann, L.A. & Schnitzler, J.* (2020). Evaluation of plant sources for anti-infective lead compound discovery by correlating phylogenetic, spatial, and bioactivity data. PNAS 117(22): 12444-12451. (* equal contribution)

Muellner-Riehl, A.N.*, Schnitzler, J.*, Kissling, W.D., Mosbrugger, V., Rijsgijk, K.F., Seijmonsbergen, A.C., Versteegh, H. & Favre, A.* (2019). Origins of global mountain plant biodiversity: Testing the ‘mountain‐geobiodiversity hypothesis’. Journal of Biogeography 46: 2826-2838. (* equal contribution)

Barnosky, A.D., Hadly, E.A., ..., Schnitzler, J., et al. 2017. Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems. Science 355:eaah4787.

Fritz, S.A., Eronen, J.T., Schnitzler, J., Hof, C., Janis, C.M., Mulch, A., Bohning-Gaese, K. & Graham, C.H. 2016. Twenty-million-year relationship between mammalian diversity and primary productivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(39):10908–10913 .

Silvestro, D., Schnitzler, J., Liow, L.H., Antonelli, A., Salamin, N., 2014. Bayesian estimation of speciation and extinction from incomplete fossil occurrence data. Syst Biol 63, 349–367.

Silvestro, D., Salamin, N., Schnitzler, J., 2014. PyRate: A new program to estimate speciation and extinction rates from incomplete fossil data. Met Ecol Evol 5, 1126–1131.

Fritz, S.A.*, Schnitzler, J.*, Eronen, J.T.*, Hof, C.*, Böhning-Gaese, K.*, Graham, C.H.*, 2013. Diversity in time and space: wanted dead and alive. Trends Ecol Evol 28, 509–516. (* equal contribution)

Koecke, A.V., Muellner-Riehl, A.N., Pennington, T.D., Schorr, G., Schnitzler, J., 2013. Niche evolution through time and across continents: the story of tropical Cedrela (Meliaceae). Am J Bot 100, 1800–1810.

Schnitzler, J., Graham, C.H., Dormann, C.F., Schiffers, K., Peter Linder, H., 2012. Climatic niche evolution and species diversification in the Cape flora, South Africa. J Biogeogr 39, 2201–2211.

Schnitzler, J., Barraclough, T.G., Boatwright, J.S., Goldblatt, P., Manning, J.C., Powell, M.P., Rebelo, T., Savolainen, V., 2011. Causes of plant diversification in the Cape biodiversity hotspot of South Africa. Syst Biol 60, 343–357.

Silvestro, D.*, Schnitzler, J.*, Zizka, G., 2011. A Bayesian framework to estimate diversification rates and their variation through time and space. BMC Evol Biol 11, 311. (* equal contribution)

Valente, L., Reeves, G., Schnitzler, J., Pizer Mazon, I., Fay, M., Rebelo, T., Chase, M., Barraclough, T., 2010. Diversification of the African genus Protea in the Cape biodiversity hotspot and beyond: equal rates but different spatial scales. Evolution 64, 745–760.


letzte Änderung: 10.06.2020